Vacations are meant to be extended periods of time during which stress levels are at their lowest, work mode is switched off, and you can venture out into the world to experience new sights, cultures, and worldly enlightenment! While it is easy to make a list of things to do beforehand, not everyone is conscious of what not to forget. Some of these things may illustrate the obvious. However, these seemingly common sense things can often be forgotten in the excitement of leaving for your trip. In effort to help makes things easier, here are 11 things to never forget before you go away.
1) Forget the Trash
Families often order take out to avoid the extra stress and clean up associated with cooking before heading out of town. Food decomposes rather quickly, and it can leave your home smelling for days. Never forget to take out your trash before leaving your home for any extended period of time. Trash can attract nasty insects, grow harmful bacteria, and leave your living space stinking like a landfill. It is smart to leave your trash on the curb if scheduled waste pickup is only a day or two away. Otherwise, throw your garbage off at a dumpster on your way out or arrange for a friend to do so for you to avoid the lingering stench of rotting produce.
2) Forget to Pay the Bills
You might not be watching cable TV or accessing your home internet while you are away, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need them when you get back! It is easy to forget about utility bills and other due payments when you are out of town, but failure to pay on time can result in late fees, damage to your credit score, and even disconnection in severe cases. Don’t forget to pay your bills, or at least arrange for a close friend or relative to handle your errands, especially if a guest will be staying from time to time to keep an eye on things for you until you return. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but so is your home. Settle your financial responsibilities in advance if you seek comfort upon your arrival to your front door.
3) Neglect Your Pets
This may seem like common sense, but if you have pets never forget to make sure that they are taken care of while you are away from home. Neglecting your animals can be considered abuse, even if it was by mistake. Always arrange to have them boarded at a local kennel or with a trustworthy family member or friend who can manage to feed and walk them on a regular basis. When left alone, pets can damage the home due to boredom, but they can also be at risk for depression, starvation, and even soil themselves from lack of being outside. Don’t be cruel to your animal friends, and make sure they have a comfortable living situation with sufficient resources when you go away.
4) Leave the Water On
This pertains to both leaving the water running as well as leaving the water supply on. When you leave your home for more than a few days, make sure you confirm that no faucets are left running. It is also recommended that the water utility is shut off altogether prior to long vacations. By leaving the water on you are susceptible to an outrageous water bill, pipes bursting, spontaneous flooding, and the environmentally harmful waste of water as a whole. Water pressure can build up and result in overall lower pressure when you return. This is often due to residue and mineral build up. Leaving your water on without proper monitoring and maintenance can cost you more than just a high utility bill. Plan ahead, and don’t be wasteful.
5) Turn the Lights Off
While it is a reasonable concern to be worried about the electric bill, never turn your lights off before you go away on your next trip. Creating the illusion that someone is home may prevent unwanted burglary or damage to your home. As a safety precaution, it is important to leave a few lights on throughout the house, especially if a home security system with cameras is installed, in the case that someone attempts to break in. This will aid in visual clarity of the suspect on camera and providing safer grounds for returning home at night. If you have arranged for visitors to check on your home, leaving the lights on will help guide them in securing the premises each time they arrive and leave for the day.
6) Leave Appliances On
You might make a pot of coffee before your departure or leave the stove on after making breakfast. For personal safety as well as the safety of your home and those nearby, never leave appliances on when you go away. A hot coffee maker or electric stove creates a risk for fires or severe burn if the next person to use it is not aware. Electrocution is also a risk that is presented when leaving appliances turned on or plugged in. Make sure that all items such as blenders, coffee makers, ovens/stoves, dishwashers, and more are sufficiently checked and turned off prior to leaving your home.
7) Leave Windows Open
Leaving windows open when you are away is certainly tempting, especially in rooms that are at a higher elevation. Mild weather provides fresh air as well as lower heating and electric bills, but residents should never leave their windows open when they are away from home. Doing so puts your house at a much greater risk for burglary and other unwanted intruders. Weather is also very unpredictable when you are gone for long periods of time. Thunderstorms, snow, and other types of extreme weather have historically occurred without notice at unexpected times of the year. Such weather can damage the interior of your home if windows are open and result in flood, water stains, animal dwellings, and more.
8) Turn the Heat Off
Even if you do not have pets, it is important that you never turn the heat off when vacationing during the winter or other reputably cold months. House temperatures should be regulated to avoid freezing pipes, damage to expensive electronics, and other risk associated with below freezing temperatures. A frigid house can take hours to return to a comfortable temperature, and it can be much harder to achieve this if the home is in a frosty state. Turning the heat on after weeks of inactivity can also cause higher gas and electric bills due to the furnace having to work harder to bring air the and water temperatures to an acceptable level for regular home use. Don’t get stuck seeing your breath when you enter your front door, and never turn the heat off during cold weather.
9) Forget to Tell Anyone
Sometimes a spontaneous getaway is the perfect medicine for high levels of stress or depression. In some cases, you might wish to keep your vacation a secret. Regardless of the purpose of your excursion, it is important that you do not forget to tell a trustworthy friend, neighbor, or relative that you are leaving for a while. Neglecting to share this crucial information on your physical state can cause concern and higher risk of your home being in danger. In the case of a family emergency, at least one person needs to know how to get ahold of you or where to find you if need be. Telling others of your whereabouts is more of a consideration for others rather than for personal benefit.
10) Leave Dirty Dishes Out
Similar to forgetting about your trash, never leave dirty dishes out. This will inevitably attract insects such as flies and cockroaches as well as pesky rodents like mice. No one wants to come home to a plate of maggots and rat droppings. Make sure your dishes are clean and put away to avoid moldy sink water and potential for expensive home fumigation or pest removal. Leaving dirty dishes out is both unsanitary and unattractive to any guests who might be stopping by to check on your home while you are away. Don’t be the homeowner that everyone knows as the neighborhood slob and see that all rooms are clear of juice cups and cereal bowls prior to taking off.
11) Leave the Door Unlocked
Regardless of how safe your neighborhood is or how trustworthy surrounding residents are, never leave your door unlocked when you go away. This may seem like a no brainer, but locking the door is such a habitual process that homeowners often forget to double check before leaving. This may be a regular practice for some people, but for the sake of your home’s safety as well as the security of your belongings, always make sure that both the handle and deadbolt are locked and in working order. Even if you expect visitors, always ensure that a spare key is hidden in an unexpected location where only trusted friends and relatives have access to it. Always practice safety first, regardless of the area you live in, and never leave the door unlocked.